Policy Gurus Advocate Community-Based Approaches to Senior Housing

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The latest installment of Public Policy & Aging Report (PPAR, Vol. 19, No. 1) evaluates current models of creating sustainable lifelong communities for people of all ages. The issue’s four articles also explore some of the controversies associated with options presently available.

In the lead article, Jon Pynoos, PhD, and Caroline Cicero, MSW, MPL, track the United States’ progress in the development of aging-friendly communities. These include home modification and community-level innovations designed to lessen isolation and increase social interaction.

Stephen Golant, PhD, suggests that aging in place (i.e., using physical and social structures to allow older adults to remain in their homes as long as possible) may be an inappropriate option for many elders due to financial barriers, local policies, and flawed data about its actual appeal. He urges people to recognize when appropriate community alternatives are necessary.
Next, Kathryn Lawler, MPP, and Cathie Berger, LMSW, explore the Atlanta Regional Commission’s comprehensive planning and design activities for creating communities that benefit all ages.

Andrew Blechman uses the final article to profile The Villages, an age-restricted community in central Florida. He critiques this upscale option, noting that private ownership impinges on traditional public functions and that troublesome intergenerational and racial issues lurk in the background of such a community.

Additionally, Sarah Frey contributes eight case studies of today’s most innovative residential options for seniors.

This issue of PPAR, published by the National Academy on an Aging Society, is titled “Livable and Sustainable Communities” and can be purchased at http://www.agingsociety.org.


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